Tuesday, April 23, 2024

5 questions for Thomas A. Stith III

N.C. District of the U.S. Small Business Administration Director Thomas Stith III provided us with some insight on the recent announcement regarding the SBA’s approval of North Carolina’s request for disaster relief loans due to the COVID-19 threat to small businesses in the state as well as more info related to helping small businesses during this time.

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Tell us a little bit about what the federal government and U.S. Small Business Administration have been doing to address the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in N.C.?

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza approved North Carolina’s request for economic injury. This designation allows North Carolina businesses to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19. SBA is also working with our resource partners across the state to provide technical assistance to small businesses as they prepare to make their loan requests.

What is the status of Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for SBA assistance for virus-affected small businesses?

As mentioned above, Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for SBA assistance has been approved. Small business owners can now apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) at, call the disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339), or email

Have other Southern governors, such as the Virginia, Tennessee or South Carolina governors, made similar requests?

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza has said all U.S. states and territories have applied or are in the process of applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The SBA expects the approval process to move swiftly as a result of Administrator Carranza streamlining the approval process.

Has the SBA come up with a specific dollar amount on how much assistance they expect to provide in this disaster through loan guarantees or other means?

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per business and can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Additionally, SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. The SBA has traditionally provided funding to meet the recovery needs of impacted states, and we anticipate the same outcome in this specific event.

Will SBA aid be targeted to specific industries?

All eligible small businesses are encouraged to apply.

Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney is publisher of Business North Carolina magazine. You can reach him at

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